Low-budget zombies, low-budget TV
On Thursday the 28th, I drove to a NE Portland TV studio hoping to see someone who shot zombies.
All in the name of Art, you see. Portland played host these last few months to people making a low-low-low budget zombie flick called Flesh of My Flesh; the filmmakers had hoped to appear that night on the cable-access show Galactic Groove – but, alas, scheduling nixed that, until tomorrow at least, when the show next goes live.
So I was the studio audience. Singular. Me. The show-runners, including host Alexandra Paris, had found other uses for the hour: music videos and footage of local karaoke singers, plus “Pervert of the Week,” a regular feature making fun of people sought by authorities for soliciting minors over the Internet. “If you think you’re talking to a 13-year-old girl [on those sites],” Paris said before the show, “you deserve to be laughed at.”
I told my friend Matt about my visit, and he told me that the station trains people to use the equipment, and then lets you use it for free if you make a program that can air. In fact, were I a better BS-er, I could’ve done that: When Paris was having a smoke before the show, she asked me if I was a volunteer! The exchange “Are you the keymaster?” “Not that I know of.” “Are you the keymaster.” “Yesssss!” went through my mind at that moment… And I did help out, sort of: I pointed out to Paris that the copyright notice for Galactic Groove said the show was “Copyright MMVI.” That’s 2006. “We’re broadcasting from the future!” she said.
Eugene, Oregon got the pleasure of my company
Sometimes – gas prices be damned! – ya needs a road trip. I visited good friends in Eugene on Saturday, part of what turned into a Friday-till-Sunday vacation where I staged out of my parents’ home in Dundee. I’m the Bookmobile to my friend/ Former Significant Other (a.k.a. the FSO) Alicia: she’s tried bunches of different authors because I let her borrow my things. Books, movies, CDs (she’s grooving on my Danny Elfman collection), even spoken word (I taped some of Daria O’Neill’s Local Entertainment Guides for her)…she’s been exposed to fun stuff. She’s gotten into Harlan Ellison, Neil Gaiman, Peter David (Writer of Stuff), Monty Python, and (I’m especially happy with this) Caitlin R. Kiernan. “Are you ever going to run out of stuff?” she asked more than once.
The main focus of the trip was taking Alicia to the film version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I’ve got to review this – I certainly want to see it again – but I’m still working out exactly how I feel about it. Thoughts and notes haven’t neatly coalesced into coherence yet on that subject.
The trip also involved walking, enjoying the nice weather, pondering a steel-and-wood sculpture in Monroe Park (that’s its name, Alicia!), eating, drinking, and shooting the breeze. And then before heading north, I did more shooting-of-the-breeze with my college friend Julie and her husband Cory. Julie’s a sweetheart, and she has the legs of a World War II pin-up, and she’s studied pre-Italian history in Italy itself (so I tell her that one day she’ll be the one who finally unravels the mystery of just where the hell the Etruscans came from), and and and she’s willing to listen to me admit embarrassing things. What’s not to like?
And that was my Saturday.
Work, work, work
Big project at work right now: nipping mistakes in the bud. I currently have three to four times the normal amount of reports to correct as I normally do, as my supervisors are identifying the biggest recurring mistakes and finding solutions to them. This is an effort involving people in Dundee, Portland, the states of Virginia and Tennessee, and even Bangalore, India. There’s a LOT of copying, faxing and e-mailing involved. You’d rot away from the boredom if I described more, so I’ll close this part by saying I can successfully focus on this sort of detailed-to-the-point-of-anal paperwork. It’ll mean an easier overall job later, for me and several coworkers.
As I work on Marquam Hill, I’m glad to see a seriously needed new crosswalk that crosses 6th Ave. just south of I-405. It was a missing link in the getting-from-bus stop-to-bus stop race each morning. I eventually got enough of a mad-on about that mess of intersecting roads that I’d willingly go farther into downtown and get on the Hill-bound buses at another stop, lengthening my commute so I wouldn’t see the parade of insanity that marched across 6th each morning. By “insanity” I mean “many, many people crossing a busy road without signals, hoping that cars stop, so that they might catch a bus.” I’d get tense there, thinking, “Who’s going to get hit?” And since it’s a confusing road layout – I’ve seen several cars driving down one-way 5th Ave. the wrong way – the chance for a driver to be looking the wrong way at the wrong (WHUMP) moment is high. And one time, about a block away from that intersection, I watched as a woman crossed between stopped cars in the northbound lane of 6th, barreled into the southbound lane, and caused a small TriMet shuttle to come to a screeching stop. She hadn’t seen A BUS-SIZED VEHICLE coming the other way, with her view blocked…and, of course, with her not really looking where she was going. And then the look on her face was “How dare you be there!” – like it was the bus driver’s fault she popped up in the way!
So that crosswalk? Needed. Re-training of people? REALLY needed. People are still crossing when the coast, strictly speaking, ain’t clear. And cars still have to stop unexpectedly. It’s a little more controlled more of the time, but it’s still sphincter-tightening.
To quote the Mutant Enemy, “Grr. Argh.”
Whoa. Much verbiage. Now there’s dishwashing to do. And then sleeping. I don’t want to do those in the wrong order, so I’ll close now…